T-Team Next Gen–Alice to Adelaide (2)

[In 2013, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.

Over the past year, I have taken you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.

This time, with the trip coming to a close, the T-K Team continue their return to Adelaide after camping at Marla for the night.]

The Trucks of Terror

Morning and the dawning realisation why this campsite may not have been popular. Anthony stomped around the tent grumbling.

‘I got no sleep last night,’ he snapped. ‘Kept getting woken up by those trucks rumbling all night. And their lights. Just as I drifted off to sleep. Those lights kept shining into our tent.’

‘Will you be alright to drive?’ I asked.

‘Why wouldn’t I be?’ he sniffed. Anthony was a man after all and infallible.

We moved like snails packing up. I loaded the Ford’s rear with stuff. Next minute, Anthony was there unloading and repacking. Must do it right, even on the last leg of our journey.

[Photo 1: While I waited, morning view from Marla campsite © L.M. Kling 2013]

While he played his version of luggage-tetris, I wandered off to the BBQ hut to check for any forgotten items that might lurk there. And behold, sitting rather smugly in a rather obvious position on the bench next to the BBQ facilities, Anthony’s water bottle. You just have to wonder whether the water bottle had legs and hid when we were searching for it the previous night. Then, when it realised that it might be left behind, it positioned itself in the fail-safe position to be found. The water bottle is not the first item to “hide” from me and then “reappear” in a place where I have looked a dozen times before…

There was much rejoicing over the lost water bottle that was found.

Owing to Anthony’s meticulous care in packing, we were the last to leave the campsite.

As we travelled the long monotonous stretch, I slept a bit, wrote in my diary a bit, and then stared out the window at the red earth, gibber plains and twisted corkwood trees. I even filmed the landscape flitting past a bit.

[Photo 2: Trees twisted on the gibber plains © L.M. Kling 2013]

Anthony took my hand. ‘I’m sorry I was grumpy.’

‘That’s okay, blame it on the trucks that kept us awake all night.’

‘I swear that there was a truck that shone its lights straight into our tent.’

‘Yeah, it seemed that way,’ I replied. ‘Perhaps we can stay at Woomera in a cabin tonight and get a decent night’s sleep.’

‘Yeah, why not!’

Around two o’clock and the landscape evolved from flat, and stone scattered to low-lying hills pockmarked with what appeared to be giant rabbit holes. Signs warned visitors to beware of mine-shafts.

[Photo 3: Mine-shaft-pitted mountains © M.E. Trudinger (nee Gross) 1956]

‘Lunch at Coober Pedy?’ Anthony said.

‘Yes, but…first a toilet-stop.’

‘And where do you suggest?’ Anthony glanced at me and then gazed at the mineshaft littered hill face.

‘A service-station? Or a pub?’

‘And where’s the service-station?’

[Photo 4: View over Coober Pedy, but where are the service stations in Coober Pedy? © R.M. Trudinger 1977]

A tour of Coober Pedy yielded no service-stations that we could find. And He who wanted to save money and eat a picnic lunch was not willing to enter a pub for the loo in case it entrapped us into eating in there.

‘What about the playground and BBQ area where we had tea with the T-Team on the way up to Central Australia?’ Anthony suggested.

Bad suggestion…

But, at the time I agreed. Lunch and loo visit in one hit.

[to be continued…next time I contend with a psycho dunny…]

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature photo (below): Road Train at dawn near Marla ©L.M. Kling 2013

***

Virtual Travel Opportunity

For the price of a cup of coffee (takeaway, these days),

Click on the link and download your kindle copy of my travel memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]

T-Team Next Gen–From Alice to Adelaide (1)

[In 2013, the T-Team, next generation embarked on their pilgrimage to Central Australia. Purpose: to scatter Dad’s ashes in his beloved Central Australia, in Ormiston Gorge.

Over the next few weeks, I will take you on a virtual trip to the Centre and memories of that unforgettable holiday in 2013, with my brother and his family; the T-Team Next Generation.

This time, the T-K Team commence their return to Adelaide from Alice Springs.]

Back to the Big Smoke of the South

After packing up our belongings into our trusty Ford, topping up with petrol, and cash supplies, we departed Alice Springs and headed south to Adelaide. It’s amazing what one discovers retracing our steps to South Australia. In the morning sunlight, there, mini-Ulurus, mini–Kata Tjutas, and mini-Mt Conners.

[Photo 1: Conglomerate Landscape © C.D. Trudinger 1986 ]

At Kulgera, we shared lunch with flies. All around us, people swished at their faces. My glasses kept falling off as I fanned the flies away. In the end, I put on my sunnies. Then, when that strategy failed, we retreated into the roadhouse and had coffee in the restaurant. Self-serve for $3.

[Photo 2: Probably one of the most effective ways to keep the flies at bay © L.M. Kling 2013]

I drove the following 180 kilometres to Marla. A slow drive at times stuck behind cars pulling caravans.

‘Why don’t you over-take?’ Anthony whined.

‘I’m playing it safe,’ I replied. ‘Better to be late, than dead on time.’

‘Humph!’

The caravan convoy eased into Agnes Creek.

‘Ah, freedom!’ I said and pressed on the accelerator. The Ford powered up to 100 km/h.

‘Careful!’ Anthony warned. ‘Don’t go too fast.’

‘I won’t.’

I kept my promise and maintained a steady 100 km/h all the way to the border of South Australia and Northern Territory.

[Photo 3: Distant memories of entering the NT two weeks prior © L.M. Kling 2013]

There, at the border we parked to check our itinerary of food for fruit and vegetables. Owing to the prevention of fruit fly into South Australia, fruit and vegetables had to be disposed of in the bins provided.  More flies hovered around joining our forage in the back of the Ford.

A passing Northern American tourist remarked, ‘Are South Australian’s so precious?’

‘Yes, we are,’ I muttered to Anthony, ‘how else have we kept the scourge of fruit fly out of our state?’

All around us, fellow travellers hauled out their luggage from their cars or four-wheel drive vehicles and disposed of their fresh produce. None of them looked happy.

Sitting on a picnic table, a lad about Son 1’s age, and wearing a fly net, boiled up a pan of canned corn and peas on a portable gas cooker.

Nodding in their direction, I remarked to my husband, ‘Do they think canned vegetables are a problem?’

‘Quiet, Lee-Anne, they might hear you,’ Anthony snapped.

‘Maybe someone should tell them that it’s only fresh vegetables that need to be disposed of.’

Anthony shook his head. ‘Come on, let’s get going.’

After depositing the few offensive apples and oranges in the bin, we piled into the Ford and charged forth on our journey south down the Stuart Highway.

[Photo 4: Down the Stuart Highway we go. Map of the South Australian outback in information kiosk at Marla© L.M. Kling 2013]

A sign warned penalties for the non-disposal of fruit and vegetables.

Anthony breathed in. ‘Oh, no, what about the potatoes?’

‘We have potatoes?’

Anthony nodded. ‘What are we going to do?’

I shrugged. ‘Eat them? For tea?’

‘How are we going to do that?’

‘I guess we’ll have to stop over at Marla and camp there tonight. Then cook up the potatoes.’

‘I guess I could try and make rösti (Swiss potato bake) on the BBQ facilities provided,’ Anthony sighed. ‘Good luck getting a campsite.’

[Photo 5: Better late than dead on time—car body at Marla © L.M. Kling 2013]

With the potatoes securely stored in the cooler hidden in the Ford, we stepped into Marla’s red brick tourist park office. Tent site? No problem. Plenty of room on the grassy park for campers.

However, fearful that the biosecurity police might emerge from under a mini-Ayers rock and ping us with a hefty fine, I was designated to cook up the potatoes and one offending onion, while Anthony pitched the 2-person tent in the middle of the verdant camping reserve. My potato dish was not exactly rösti, though.

While frying up this “contraband” fare, a familiar white van whizzed past. I stepped out of the BBQ shelter and waved to them. The white van turned around.

The T-Team joined us for our potato and onion fry. Our nephew contributed their stash of vegetables to make a stir fry. Mrs. T shared the T-team’s adventures visiting a friend’s cattle station south of Alice the past couple of days.

My older niece was not her usual cheerful self. While helping me wash the dishes in a crummy camp kitchen with little light, Rick confided in me that she may not have been happy about driving the Oodnadatta track.

‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘she must know that track is full of tacks to bust tyres.’

Rich laughed. ‘Oh, yeah! Maybe we won’t go that way…’

[Photo 6: Reminiscent of past ventures with the T-Team: Lunch at Ernabella with Dad’s brother © C.D. Trudinger 1992]

We waved the T-Team off on their venture south at around 8.30pm. Then Anthony crawled into the tent and began tossing out clothes, bags, and stuff into the frigid cold night.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked.

‘Where are you hiding the drink bottles?’ he cried.

‘Are they in the car?’

‘No, I’ve looked there.’

‘Sure, they’re not in the BBQ hut?’

‘No, where have you hidden them?’

‘I don’t remember, “hiding” them. They must be left somewhere,’ I said. ‘it’s too dark to look for them now, so you might just have to be satisfied with the thermos.’

With a grunt, he who is always right, shrugged on an extra coat, sat outside the tent, sipping hot chocolate from the thermos, and playing with his phone. Wrapped in my sleeping bag, I sat beside the man who had lost his water bottle, and wrote my diary by torchlight. Ours was one lonely tent in an expanse of couch grass.

[Photo 7: Like Father like son-in-law, parting with one’s water container brings such sorrow. Somewhere in this landscape of Liebig is my dad’s lost quart can © C.D. Trudinger 1977]

Having lost the battle to mourn the temporary loss of his water bottle alone, Anthony crawled into bed at 10pm. Soon after, I followed him and in the warmth of the thermal sleeping bag, I soon fell asleep.

© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021

Feature Photo: Mini Ayers Rock © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2013

***

Virtual Travel Opportunity

For the price of a cup of coffee (takeaway, these days),

Click on the link and download your kindle copy of my travel memoir,

Trekking with the T-Team: Central Australian Safari. (Australia)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (United States)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (UK)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (Germany]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [France]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari (India)

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Canada]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Mexico]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Italy]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Brazil]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Spain]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Japan]

Trekking With the T-Team: Central Australian Safari [Netherlands]